Practicing Mindfulness: Key To Living Successfully
Written by: Janet Early
Mindfulness is a concept often misunderstood in modern society.
Many people hear the term and picture meditation – the seated position, the focus on the breath, the calling out of chants.
But really, mindfulness is simply being aware of your surroundings.
According to Ellen Langer, a Harvard University psychologist:
“Mindfulness is the process of actively noticing new things. When you do that, it puts you in the present. It makes you more sensitive to context and perspective. It’s the essence of engagement. And it’s energy-begetting, not energy consuming.
“The mistake most people make is to assume it’s stressful and exhausting—all this thinking. But what’s stressful is all the mindless negative evaluations we make and the worry that we’ll find problems and not be able to solve them.”
You can be mindful in traffic, during a conversation, quietly sitting in your room or while at work. You can practice mindfulness anywhere. Really.
Tips To Practice Mindfulness In Your Everyday Life:
1. Do One Thing At A Time. No multi-tasking. If you’re reading a book, just read; if you’re eating, just eat; if you’re driving, just drive.
2. Take Your Time. Aim to do, not just to finish. Make your actions deliberate.
3. Do Fewer Things. It can be easy to rush from one thing to the next if your day is jam-packed. Plan to have fewer objectives each day and focus on quality rather than quantity.
4. Plan Breaks Between Tasks. Plan some time to relax and refocus between tasks, to avoid that hectic rushing feeling.
5. Focus On The Present. You can only control the present moment, not the future. Preoccupying your mind with things that haven’t happened yet only pollutes your current experience. Instead, consciously try to be in the now.
6. Schedule Time To Do Nothing. Plan out 5 or 10 minutes a day to just sit quietly, breathe and observe your surroundings. Not every moment has to be active in order to be meaningful.
7. Listen. In conversations with other people, listen fully. Try to be in the moment instead of worrying about what you will say next. Your connection to others will be stronger and your conversations more meaningful.
8. Eat slowly. Often times, people spoon food into their mouths without taking time to savor the full taste of the meal. If you eat mindfully, you will enjoy your food more and for longer and you won’t overeat.
A Mindful Mind Is:
- Loving and compassionate
Jon Kabat-Zinn, who is among the first to show how mindfulness can successfully reduce stress, describes mindfulness as:
“Paying attention on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment.”
Benefits Of Practicing Mindfulness:
- Improves memory, focus and productivity
- Better sleep
- Boosts immune health
- Regulates emotions and moods
- Lessens anxiety and depression
- Strengthens willpower and helps deter cravings
- Increases compassion, empathy and acceptance
- Strengthens your body against disease and chronic pain
- Improves self-awareness and understanding
- Strengthens the relationships in your life
Mindfulness practice enables you to be more productive at work, more present at home and more restorative while you sleep. The practice improves all areas of your life, which allows you to better reach your goals and make meaningful connections with others.
A Harvard study found that people who practice mindfulness show compassion and kindness towards other people 50% more often than those who don’t.
Has mindfulness practice improved your life? Please share below.
Cigna “Mindfulness” presentation, 2016.
Janet Early is a health enthusiast living in Los Angeles and working as a researcher for a major television company. An aspiring writer, Janet discovered her passion for wholesome nutrition and natural healing while navigating the struggles of balancing food sensitivities in a modern world. In addition to nutrition, she enjoys traveling, storytelling and embarking on daily adventures.
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